Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another Coffee Story

The retired gentleman sitting alone at the table next to me seemed suspiciously quiet. There's only one person who dares sit by himself in this cafe - me. So when a half hour passed before anyone else joined him, I was only half surprised when he turned to me and asked, "do you have internet on that computer?"

"Yes" I responded.

"Go ahead and look me up."

"Excuse me?" I said, quite surprised.

"Type my name in and see what comes up."

"I'm sorry, where should I type your name?"

"YouTube", he responded as if everyone born in the 1930s was on the video sharing site.

"Oh..." I said, even more confused than before.

Maybe it was the fact that his self-promotion wasn't dressed in twitter or facebook. Or perhaps it was because I couldn't simply block or unfriend him. In this case, "no" would require a verbal, face to face answer. I tried to recover.

"...Ok, what is your name?" I asked.

As we searched, I apologized to him, mentioning the fact that the speakers on my computer don't work, so we wouldn't be able to listen to the video.

He assured me that everything was ok. If we didn't have music, we could just watch.

This is what came up:

He gave me several other ideas to feed the YouTube search engine. While we imagined what was being played, we talked a little. In fact, we talked for quite awhile. He was extremely patient with my Croatian when I ventured into parts of conversation I hadn't been before. I learned some new musical terminology from him as well and found out that the instrument I call trombon in Croatian is in fact a valve trombone. The slide trombone I play has a different name. We talked about school, our jobs and the various musical gigs he's had over the years.

I was sorry when it was time to part ways. He was a very friendly, simpatičan gentleman. Even though it started as an interruption, I was glad he was bold enough to spark a conversation with the bald guy sitting by himself. In fact, that's the way it usually turns out.

Maybe Croatia's relationship-oriented culture is finally rubbing off on this schedule-oriented American.